In Search of Coherence between Trade and Health: Inter-Institutional Opportunities
Maryland Journal of International Law, 2010
28 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2010 Last revised: 13 May 2010
Date Written: February 16, 2010
The fragmented state of contemporary international law and institutions gives rise to contentious relationships between larger policy objectives. An example of such relationships, the ‘trade and health’ debate has long been understood as suffering from a lack of policy coherence, at the expense of health. This paper explores the institutional modalities of formulating a coherent policy that would redress the gravitational pull of the World Trade Organization, opting for cooperation between the major relevant international organizations rather than counterbalancing the dominance of trade. Part II of the paper notes the multi-layered impacts of trade on health, mindful of areas of tension between trade agreements and health. These tensions are then placed within the broader discourse about the fragmentation of international law into sectoral normative regimes, with a view to highlighting the major risks involved in the process. Part IV briefly addresses the impact of trade agreements on national health measures, and the operation of the ‘health exception’ in GATT 1994 in light of the jurisprudence of WTO tribunals. Part V explores the role of the World Health Organization in the governance of trade and health. The paper concludes by making suggestions for formal inter-institutional cooperation between WTO and WHO, which, it is hoped, would positively contribute to the development of norms and institutional practices that better integrate health objectives into trade policy-making and implementation, and trade objectives into health policy-making and implementation.
Keywords: international law, trade, health, WTO
JEL Classification: K00, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation